Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Harvey Day 5: Boat Launch No Go

My parents set out this morning to try to see their house. As of now we still have no idea of its condition. Did it take on water? We assume so. But they are the highest house on their street by quite a bit and water wasn't in the house yet when they evacuated, so there's hope. There's also houses a few streets away from theirs with 6 feet of water inside. We really just don't know and WE WANT TO KNOW.

So they set out in Eric's truck, my mom looking fab as always, now decked out in Eric's wader gear in case they needed to walk a bit.

In the words of my dad over text, "So we thought we would go see the house today. We tried to walk in from three different starting points. Got swept away in current on last try and decided to stop. Got within 1/2 mile. Damn."

So, on to Plan B, which apparently consisted of driving back towards Houston to see if Eric's boat was operational. He rents closed storage space... somewhere (despite living in Houston for half my life I still don't really know anything about the areas, names or roads outside of Kingwood, making me less than helpful in tracking the flooding over the last few days. I'd send Eric a text with some flooded area and he'd be like, that's an hour across town, and I was like I don't know, it sounded familiar! Back to google.). The storage lot was under water, but by some miracle his shed flooding was an inch below the boat motor and the boat worked! So it was rescued.

Eric is handy to have around and I feel like I probably shouldn't have made fun of him for spending so much grownup money on toys.

After an eternity, we got a short text of "Boat launch was a no go... kept hitting mailboxes that were underwater. Taking boat back."

Followed by one a while later from Eric that said "That was terrible."

Another million years later (like 6 hours) my dad sends a recap:
Launched Eric's boat in a street and were immediately swept into a submerged brick mailbox. Then tried to gun it to get in middle of road and hit another something. Very strong current hitting our side. We were being swept into a house so Eric floored it and purposely drove us into the top of an oak tree where we stuck nicely in the branches just to stop the madness. Quick thinking as we were four seconds from going through a large living room window. We were able to get ropes around a light post and got the bow pointed into the current. Took a hand axe Eric had in board for killing Alligator gar and cut off some limbs so we could get out of the tree. We got free, punched the engine, threw off the rope and headed to starting point. Immediately hit that damn submerged brick mailbox again but did get to calm water. What a disaster.
After that we had a beer and Headed back to the Heights for beer and food. Decided to try wading in again tomorrow. Glenda did lower engine and start engine and drive the boat into trailer all be herself as Eric gave directions from the water. She did a great job.
Eric followed up with "It was... not fun. Scariest situation I've been in in my boat and I've been through some doozies."

I feel like his "that was terrible" and mom's "boat launch a no-go" did not fully capture the situation of nearly smashing through a large window and landing in an oak tree. With a boat. On a residential street.

Meanwhile, blissfully unaware of the boat-in-tree situation, I just keep seeing images from my friends in Kingwood and they were breaking my heart.

Here's our highway exit:

Nearby shopping center:

A Whataburger I've never been to because I've never been to a Whataburger but that is close to my parents' house:

My high school football field:

A main road through Kingwood:

Catastrophic doesn't begin to cut it. People's homes have water up to the 2nd story. Hundreds and hundreds of homes.

I can't really talk about it right now; it rips your heart out and makes you feel helpless. As people start being able to get back in their homes to assess the damage, as they try to get vehicles that work (over half a million are flooded) to take them to stores that aren't currently able to restock, there will be so much need. Right now it's money from afar and specific items if you're close enough to hand them to the shelter that needs it. They will need more. They will need it for weeks after the world has moved on. I think right now, especially if you are far away, it's okay to take a breath and wait; wait to see where your time and money are best spent so they can help the most. This will be a marathon. If you're moved, set a reminder for 2 weeks to reassess your giving- see what new needs or organizations or on-the-ground help has sprung up, and give again. The devastation is simply overwhelming and the vast majority of people don't have flood insurance (my parents do, a requirement in purchasing the new house, thank god) and 8 feet of water in your house is financially catastrophic.

It's so hard to turn away from the coverage because it's not just my parents and brother, it's my entire childhood. My friends, many of whom moved back after college. Their parents, many of whom still live in the houses I visited and ate all their food as a kid. Every picture, every image is connected to a place where I have a memory. I'm not physically affected- I'm in a dry house having enjoyed a day of beautiful weather, so I can't complain and yet still the images are crushing. I know these people and I know these places and it's so much.

My parents and brother are headed out early in the morning to try to get to the house again. The water is receding and they think they'll be able to safely wade through the water left in the streets tomorrow. My heart and hopes are with them, and my car and credit card are ready to load up with supplies and drive them down as soon as it's possible.

Thanks for continuing the messages. Obviously, safety is still the priority and we're still so blessed on that front, but the extent of the damage and work ahead is sinking in, and it's a lot.

Luckily in non-flood news, Grandpa continues to do well and eat popsicles and dazzle his nurses. The kids are great. James's new session is almost back to his highest numbers before the losing-the-pool fiasco. I paid off my third-to-last law school loan yesterday; originally $64,000 it is now ZERO. Winston got a new bandana.

His jowls blocked all the handsome, so I moved it around to be a stunning little cape.

So there's a lot of good.

(And there's Winston.)

My friends on the ground in Kingwood continue to lift up others around them with their incredible help, coordination, action and generosity. They're lifting us up from afar as we read about it and cheer them on. I can't wait to get there and help them. Fingers crossed the roads are passable soon.

xoxo, LL

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Update: 3/5 Rice Reunion, Grandpa Eating Popsicles, and Cora at Peak-Accessory

Once again this will be very short because I am fried and must sleep, but there is both so much and so little to cover. What I can tell you in short, here at 11:45 p.m., is that my brother was able to pick up my parents earlier today and they are together and safe and dry at his condo in The Heights with all 3 dogs.

I cried off and on all morning knowing they were reunited. I know they all felt the same. I just feel like we can finally breathe again. We don't know the status of their house, though we know their surrounding neighborhoods and our childhood home of Kingwood are just devastated right now and under many, many feet of water. My high school has several feet of water and all the roads leading to our neighborhood are deeply underwater.

I also know that my parents and Eric are together and safe and dry at his condo, so I'm just sticking with that.

I have much to tell you, having finally heard the whole story of their rescue by strangers on the side of the road and the impact those unknown good Samaritans had on all 5 of us. I have thoughts on the devastation in Houston and my hometown; the damage, the families rescued (and then, in two cases of friends, rescued again when their shelters flooded a few hours later), the long timeline to rebuild, the cleanup involved before rebuilding is even a possibility. My heart bursts at the stories of neighbors helping neighbors and strangers helping strangers.

Kingwood High School

The place I grew up is drowning. My parents house is drowning. I've been drowning in news updates and twitter feeds since Sunday.

But also in those news updates are calls for help that are answered and videos of people being rescued by civilians with boats and no other plan but to "help wherever they could." It's overwhelming.

Two partners I worked with at my old firm in Austin reached out with heartfelt and sincere offers of assistance. A guest house with an acre of land for the dogs to run in Austin and a "can I come pick them up? Let me know and I'm on my way." A home owned but currently empty and offered up to them for as long as they need. And I know they meant every word, including the driving 3 hours to go get them. I received similar offers from friends all around Houston, including many I hadn't seen in 10 years. I just kept crying all morning, not so much because my parents needed the help, but because it was offered so instantly and freely and sincerely.

I was, and am, simply overwhelmed.

Separately, my grandpa is improving rapidly. It was like at the exact moment I was having to ignore hospital updates in lieu of flooding ones, the hospital updates become less critical. The universe let them intersect and one take precedence.

They pulled his breathing tube over the weekend and he's been breathing on his own and talking ever since. He's eating popsicles now. He's getting physical therapy to get him up and walking (in limited fashion) as soon as possible. He's uncomfortable and stubborn and getting all the questions right on Jeopardy. He is, in the words of his doctor, "an inspiration" and recovering at "mach speed." He's still in ICU, but could be out in 2 days, and then on the long road of PT and recovery (most of it hospital-based). There are still risks, but he is firmly on that long road of recovery. It is a miracle. I am so thankful. I am overwhelmed.

Cora's good too. She loves her 3x princess bandaid "treatment" and I'm pretty sure still has no idea what happened while she was screaming bloody fucking murder over having to lie down on a hospital bed. Stitches remain a foreign concept. She gets them out Friday. James is taking her.

This, at least, is not overwhelming. I will be at yoga, he will deal, Cora will probably remain calm the whole time because that's how this works.

It's 11:58 and I'm determined to publish this before midnight. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for your comments. On a day when I can't tear myself away from the internet, your intermittent "new messages" with comments were such a bright spot. Thank you thank you, more later.

xoxo, LL

Monday, August 28, 2017

Flooding Update

Copied straight from facebook because I am wrung out and absolutely have to get some sleep tonight (not that my struggles in my dry house all safe in beautiful weather are notable here, but it is SO HARD to be far away and USELESS at times like this). It's been a day of texts and calls to family and friends, google searching for updated pictures and flood conditions, and wishing so very much that anything I could do from here would be helpful at all to my family down there.

But without further ado, this is where tonight finds us:

~ ~ ~

My brother, trapped for 2 days at a friend's house far across town and then under a mandatory evacuation order there, was able to make a break for it and drive through the water to get back to his condo in The Heights today. He is not under water and other than non-stop worry about my parents, he is fine.

My parents woke up to the lake water having crawled 75 feet forward from its usual place in the lake to swallowing their pool, depositing foreign boats and jet skis in their yard, and lapping at their back door. They moved all the furniture, pictures, and heirlooms they could upstairs just before the Coast Guard informed them they were under a mandatory evacuation order and their house may not be standing when they get back. They tried to drive out, nearly flooded, and reversed back. They stood in the pouring rain with their bag of dog food, suitcase, and 3 dogs and waved down a high-water-vehicle. They were dropped at the nearest spot above the water line, an open parking lot a few streets over and stood in the rain until a nearby family drove by and asked if they needed a place to stay. My parents and all 3 dogs are currently sheltering at the Good Samaritan's house.

It was hard, so hard, to leave behind their just-finished dream home, filled with passed-down family furniture, memory items (my grandparents' wedding album, my mom's wedding dress, my wedding dress, baby clothes and items from their college days... my heart just aches) and all the new pieces that are part of my childhood memories that they've lovingly picked out over the years. The antiques they crammed into our travel trailer that they bought on our family road trips... my great-grandparents' dining set, my great-grandfather's chess set... just so many things that have heart and history. It's just stuff, but it's ours, and it hurts.

The water levels continue to rise and are expected to do so for several more days and their home may not withstand it. But, they are dry and they are safe. When one of us last got in touch with them, they were eating popcorn and watching a movie with their hosts. After the terror and shocked sadness of abandoning their home hours in the pouring rain hours earlier, with white-capped fast flowing water approaching the house on both sides, that update, combined with the surety of their safety, is enough.

My brother is endlessly searching for routes to get to them, but it's unlikely he'll be able to do so tomorrow, so they may be heading to a shelter in the morning. [Updated update, a friend may be able to get to them!] For now we are so thankful for the kindness of strangers and the fact that their phones, while intermittent, continue to work. So please keep them and all of Houston in your thoughts- there are so many people so much worse off, and donate to some of the wonderful local relief organizations if you can. I'll update tomorrow when we know more.

~ ~ ~

Thank you all for your messages today. In between pointless googling and twitter searches, they were a bright spot of support and internet friendship and I appreciate it more than I can say. I hope my Houstonian and Gulf Coast readers are doing okay. Every time the reality of this nightmare gets me down, I'm so buoyed by the pictures of people helping others. It's little, but your messages buoy me. Thank you.

Two Hospitals and a Hurricane

You guys, we have SO much to cover. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it, but if I don't write now I feel like I'm just asking to have something else huge to write about tomorrow.

First up and chronologically last-up, Houston- my home town, and current home to my parents, brother, and two sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and all my childhood memories has been hit by a hurricane and catastrophic flooding event. A thousand year flood. In the words of my actuary-trained brother, "my tables didn't even have a percentage for that." It is devastating. People are dying because they are trapped in the attics they escaped to as the waters rose. Having lived through several major floods, including one that found us paddling down Kingwood Drive, over stop signs and alongside traffic lights, in my dad's old canoe, this exceeds them all. Entire highways are underwater, airports are shut down, the water already exceeds 20 feet in some areas and the heavy pouring rain is expected to continue through Thursday.

My parent's new home is fairly high up, but it's on a lake and that lake is slowly crawling towards their back door. This is the last picture they sent; it's already up over all the steps we take down to the lake from their pool area. It's up another foot since then. They will be fine- the boat and boathouse will likely be gone, and there will be a lot of property damage and a lot of cleanup, but physically they should be safe. There are people who have already lost that assurance and it breaks my heart. Water is so damaging. Please keep Houston and its surrounding areas in your thoughts, and if you want to help, here is an excellent list of places to do so. (I'd also add the Texas Diaper Bank to that list; an excellent charity at all times, they are particularly needed here as relief organizations typically do not stock diapers and they are expensive and so necessary.) (My brother went to a friend's house last night across town and got trapped there, so thoughts for his safe return to my parent's house are also appreciated because while he TOTALLY shouldn't have traveled last night (sorry bro), I also know it's killing him to not be able to help my parents right now, just like it's killing my sister and I to not have him there making them prepare for things instead of "just keeping an eye on the situation" zomg.)

Second up, and chronologically first, I flew to Minneapolis on Tuesday to see my grandpa in the hospital. It was a perfect window for me. School had started, James's swim school was closed for the week, and all my other aunts and uncles who had flown up on Friday when the heart attack happened needed to go home before their next scheduled trip up. My mom could have handled it alone, but I didn't want to her to have to, and I just wanted to touch my grandpa and hug my grandma.

So I did.

He's at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, which if you must be in an cardiac ICU far from home, is an excellent place to be. The care is incredible and you can walk between the hotel, hospital, and lots of restaurants. And it's Minneapolis, so even though it's August, you can actually walk around outside without melting.

Seeing my grandpa heavily sedated in the ICU was both significantly harder and also more reassuring than I anticipated. His nurse was very encouraging. This is a long path and there's nothing stopping him from taking each slow step of it. His brain function remained amazingly good and his heart was healing. There's just a lot of improvements and adjustments and body systems that need to come back online along the way to recovery. And we knew they still considered him on a likely path to recovery. But still. It's hard to see him going on 6 days without being responsive.

holding hands; the 62-year-long wedding ring groove tugged my heart

And even harder, seeing my grandma soldier on in this bewildering new world without her mate as an active participant beside her. She was so strong in the room. So cheerful and strong and steady. We walked in that Wednesday morning and she took his hand and told him, among other things, "You're doing such a good job and making such great progress. You're such a strong man and I love you." She'd tell him about her day and who was visiting and checking in on him by phone. Every time we made her leave the room for a walk or food she'd tell the nurse to "take good care of my boyfriend," and when she left at night, she sang him "You Are My Sunshine." It was brutal and beautiful to witness. But out of the room you could see the strain and the worry and the overwhelming nature of it all. It was hard not to just keep hugging her.

Interestingly for me was also the realization that I was there for my mom in addition to just being there for myself. That I wasn't just her daughter and my grandpa's granddaughter, there to be reassured and hugged and made to feel better. I was also a 34-year-old adult who could see the fear in my mom's eyes every time she turned away from my grandmother to check my grandpa's labs or talk to his doctor, an adult who could also give- companionship, an ear, a latte, something.

I didn't do much- I wasn't there long and others came earlier and stayed longer, but I'm so glad I was there at all. It was also great to see my younger cousin who lives there now and see her cheerfully driving us around, chatting with my grandpa like he was seconds away from responding, and kindly answering my grandma's questions for the dozenth time. Family. Sometimes the reason for seeing then isn't good, but it's always good to see them anyway.

The kids continued to settle in to school and seem to love their teachers. On Wednesday night James sent me a text that read, "white bread with dinner and cookies for dessert- things are getting crazy!" As always, he makes things so easy for me- he handles the kids on his own far better than I would if he ever actually left me overnight with them.

I flew home Thursday morning, in time to do some work and then start my new job teaching barre for TCU. It was a good class- a little chaotic as I didn't know where all the equipment was or that my class was only 50 minutes instead of 60 so I rolled into the yoga teacher's class after mine (oops!), but fun and sweaty and exciting to be in a new place.

My mom flew home that night to a hurricane watch and has been in the house ever since. My grandpa wasn't conscious while we were there, but joyfully and SO THANKFULLY, he started coming out of the sedation Friday and they were able to pull the breathing tube last night! It's hard- he doesn't know what happened and he's in pain from the broken ribs, the tube, the actual heart attack, a random broken finger they didn't realize he had until he could tell them... but it's such a big step forward and SUCH a relief for my grandma who has sat by him every day for 10 days now.

In other adventures, Claire had her first soccer game on Saturday. She's on a new team and she loves it and we're almost excited to lose our Saturdays to a new round of soccer games. The Bear really likes aggressive team sports.

Landon, who cheerfully will tell you he does not, spent the entire hour entertaining our toddler contingent. He's like a tween toddler wrangler and he loves it.

Cora also spent some time making sure her daddy was focused on her.

We had a PTA party last night where we brought the house down by playing the paper bag game and a new giant pig version of Pass the Pigs! I told our babysitter 8:30 and it turned into 10 because we're CRAZY. Then, just to keep the crazy going, and because we felt left out of all the hospital and hurricane drama, Cora took a header off her scooter at top speed this morning, straight into a curb.

She was wearing her helmet (ALWAYS) but still got a slice taken out of her eyebrow, so after we wiped away the chainsaw massacre amount of blood, I whisked her off to the Children's Hospital Emergency Room, both of us singing Moana songs all the way.

She was adorable and charming and chatty in triage... she then strangely but adorably refused to sit in the bed in the hospital room (a portend of TERRIBLE THINGS TO COME), but otherwise handled the experience with her usual confidence and aplomb.

Until it was time to lie down in the bed. She had no idea stitches were coming. She had no idea what stitches even were. She just needed to lie down in the damn bed so a doctor could "clean her boo boo" and "look at it." Except FUCK. NO. said Cora Linnae who promptly proceeded to lose her mind.

The screaming went on for days. She clocked a nurse in the face. A straight jacket blanket and TWO additional medical personnel were called in (one, and then another after she got loose and had more flailing, now with a fishhook stuck in her eyebrow). It was insane. She screamed until she dry heaved and then she screamed more. The pediatric plastic surgery trained wound tech said he wanted to do 5 stitches but could only safely do 3 due to her "objections." Objections that continued for THIRTY MORE MINUTES after they were done. I have never, ever in all my 10 years of parenting seen a fit like that. She kicked over chairs, threw my purse across the room, and crouched into a corner hissing and spitting. I talked to her as you would a feral animal and eventually, twenty interminable minutes later, got her to sit in my lap, then change, and then leave the room.

As we walked past the nurses, all wide-eyed at their station, Cora turned and matter-of-factly said, "I just did not want to lie down."

She was fully recovered over a bowl of mac and cheese at her favorite restaurant.

I was fully recovered after ordering something "large and with alcohol in it."

Holy hell you guys. She still doesn't even know she got stitches.

We ended the day with GOT, wine, and a snoring Winston we had to put out of the room so we could properly cheer on and be grossed out by the incest afoot. Winston sits on his throne and judges you for watching.

So my grandpa continues to slowly improve. We're not out of the woods and he'll be in the ICU at least a week longer, but I got to talk to him- TALK TO HIM!- today on the phone when he asked my uncle to call me because he was worried about Cora. He's tired and scratchy and couldn't talk for long, but it was so good to hear his voice! Almost totally worth the stitches screaming banshee situation. But please do continue to keep him and my family in your thoughts. A family that is now in danger of flooding and is also going to have a harder time getting up to MSP to be with him and my grandma.

(And it's now midnight and brother found out he's under a mandatory evacuation order at his friend's house, so he's supposed to be ready for the National Guard to come by at 8 a.m. to ferry him to another location that is still not his house or my parent's house. This is such a mess. Oh Houston. I need to stop checking twitter updates and go to bed so I can keep pointlessly checking tomorrow.)

I hope all my Houston and gulf shore readers are safe tonight! This is such a scary and awful situation; the Lag Liv family hearts are with you.

(Monday morning 6 a.m. update: my brother remains under mandatory evacuation order without a way to actually evacuate. The Brazos river, already up 20 feet and expecting to rise another 30 (!) is next to his friend's house, and the situation is dangerous. My mom texted this morning that the water rose up to their pool last night, swallowing it, and continuing towards their house. They're sealing doors and windows and moving thing upstairs. It is still just pouring rain and all of Houston is drowning in it.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Grandpa Updates and First Days

First of all, thank you for the comments on my last post about my Grandpa. My mom read several of them to my grandma and while she's still wrapping her head around the concept of a blog, she can completely understand that there are people spread out all over thinking of them and holding them up in thoughts and prayers. It meant so much to me as well.

And today I'm happy to report some good news! To be sure, he is still very sick and remains in critical condition, but he had a really good day yesterday with all the little benchmarks they look for pointing in the right direction instead of up, down, and down again like the day before. His chief doctor, the one who has kept us properly grounded in our expectations with each update, told my family that grandpa is an "amazing patient" and they are now expecting a full recovery of everything except his kidneys (and, though not ideal, he can be on dialysis for that). His pancreas decided to step up and do its part (a huge relief), his brain function continues to be miraculously good, his white cell count is going down in response to the antibiotics, and the dialysis is helping with the swelling and to filter his blood. He's still pretty heavily sedated to help control the pain of the broken ribs and recovery, but I believe they are going to reduce that some to ensure his body functions keep working up to the level they'll need to be when he's conscious again. My mom wrote this morning that his nurse said he rested comfortably all night, his lung sounds are clear, and his temp remained steady, so that's all good news. His most recent update from the doctor included the news that they're concerned about his high blood pressure and are working to find the right medication to control it and of course, still concerned about the kidneys, but from what we can tell we're very slowly making our way towards the place where we can start his recovery path and it is such a relief to be talking about that again.

I fly up to Minneapolis tonight. I just need to touch him and hug my grandma and see my mom. My dad and other aunts and uncles fly home today while my mom stays (she starts teaching next week so they're taking a break before flying back up after she goes home for her first day of school), so it's a nice window for me to pop up there. With our crazy weekend completed and the first day of school started, the kids can coast until I get back on Thursday (just in time to start my new barre job at TCU!). It's a short visit, but it's perfect for right now. Once we can talk about his long-term plan I'm sure we'll be dividing up weeks and weekends to keep my grandma company over the next couple months. So northward I go!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So along with tentatively positive and hopeful hospital text messages yesterday, we had the first day of school! My favorite day!

they all look so old in this picture; it pulled my heartstrings

It's not that I'm dying for the kids to get back in school- I'm at work all day, so other than creating and executing my summer camp spreadsheet (and sitting by the pool drinking margaritas when I should be doing other things), I'm not super affected by summer. But my kids - oh my sweet darling children - they THRIVE in school. Absolutely flourish and blossom and are emotionally steady and rational and happy and then sleep 11.5 hours at night to go do it again.

traditional first day handshake!

They need school. Landon went all summer without a big fit. Summer has always been his trigger, school is like some sort of essential emotional vitamin for him. Usually the fits start in July and we're all back in therapy in August. This year he threw one and it was on the last Friday before school started and I was like yeah, sure, that's fine, we can handle that, you'll be in school in 72 hours.

And now he's in 4th grade! So big, so tweenish, so excited to be back with his friends. He may be styling his hair and rocking new shoes, but he still let me hug him in the hall before the bell.

Claire is in 2nd. She ADORES school with her whole heart and was thrilled to be back. Her teacher is young and full of educational zeal and I feel like Claire is going to just love her.

(James hugs are the smotheriest hugs.)

We tried to get a picture with Winston for the first day, but Cora refused to walk on the grass and Winston refused to follow directions.

We're still working diligently on Winston's training. He's willing, just not exactly eager. Last night I put a treat in his mouth for sitting and the treat fell out and he just walked away, like this is too much. I cannot also be expected to chew. I'm taking a nap.

(Winston would not like school.)

Cora was SUPER excited to be back as well. She'd only had two days off as her school was closed last Thursday and Friday to prep for the new year, but like her siblings, she needs her work and she kept Eeyore-level sighing on Sunday and telling me "Mommy I just never go to my school anymore."

But now she does! I didn't mean to post so many pics, but these are all just *very* Cora right now.

She's sort of a sparkling unicorn- unbelievably delightful and sweet and funny, until she's not and decides to ram you with her horn.

Much to our surprise, she did select a kitty lunch box this year, a shocking upset over the front-runner unicorn which had been the favorite until moments before stepping in the store.

Claire was a little nervous about her first day. She's in the portable buildings this year, so she wanted to be sure she understood the proper procedure for getting there in the morning.

Cora was totally ready for 2nd grade

Cora, on the other hand, basically demanded entry into her building, marched down the hallway, and exclaimed over all the new work in her new big kid class.

It's our last year moving up to a new classroom in Montessori. She'll either be there until Kindergarten in 2019 or, if she gets into pre-K in our school, until fall 2018 (pleasepleaseplease; all 3 kids in one school for one glorious year!).

I know they're all going to have such great years. We've been blessed with such great teachers who foster their love of learning in new ways every year and I can't wait to see what this one brings.

Filled with elementary school sentimentality, I went to work and between hospital text updates read a few filings, filed some emails, updated some coworkers, and did a little eclipsing after lunch.

It was an unexpected little bonus to my day. DFW is in the path of totality for the next eclipse on April 8, 2024! I'm super excited and totally saving those eclipse glasses a stranger handed me when he was done outside my building. Eclipse part at my house in 6.75 years!

I need to go pack, but here is the weekly menu I planned before I realized I'd be leaving mid-week.

Monday: Sunshine Lentil Bowl; still my new favorite summer meal (my post on it here), the dressing just makes it.

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! Seasoned ground beef, whole wheat tortillas (no one in my house will eat crunchy tacos and I don't understand it, but I also won't be here to complain), tons of toppings, refried black beans.
Wednesday: Leftover Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread.
Thursday: Chicken Rollatini with Prosciutto and Cheese, Parmesan Orzo Pasta (loosely based on this recipe), peas.
Friday: Pizza? Somewhere out? Unknown; it'll have been a long week.

Happy first week of school!